So, by popular demand, here is the sequel to His Christmas Wish. Unfortunately, you will have to read all 25 chapters of that one to really make sense of this, I think.
December 26, 2009
Emily blinked open sleepy eyes cocooned in warmth. Between the blankets and the body she could feel behind her, she was toasty and comfortable. She grinned as she cuddled back tighter. This could be all hers.
This, being Aaron Hotchner and his son.
Christmas had been eventful in the Hotchner home and Emily knew Aaron would credit her completely with the transformation they'd both gone through. She'd fought tooth and nail to keep him out of melancholy and grief and, somehow, she'd managed to at least make him surface for a few days. They'd had their rocky patches, but Emily knew both Jack and Aaron had ended up having a good Christmas.
Jack had told her so as she said goodnight. He'd also completely and absolutely stunned her.
After an eventful day of opening gifts and playing with new presents – or, in the case of both Emily and Aaron, admiring them – as well as an eventful afternoon of cookie making that had probably done more damage to the kitchen than any of the adults realized, Jack cuddled between his father and Emily as Aaron read The Night Before Christmas. Emily's fingers were running through Jack's hair soothingly as his head rested on the pillow, listening with rapt attention to his father.
"He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle, And away they all flew like the down of a thistle. But I heard him exclaim as he drove out of sight," Aaron read softly.
Then Jack piped up, "Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night."
Both Emily and Aaron chuckled as Jack grinned proudly.
Aaron kissed his son's head. "That's right, Buddy. And it's time for good nights for little boys."
Aaron climbed off of the bed as Jack climbed up on his knees and turned to Emily, throwing himself at her. Emily let out a grunt as he impacted with her body, but wrapped her arms around the little boy. He pulled back with a huge grin on his face, and Emily rubbed her nose against his. "Goodnight, Mister Jack."
He giggled. "Night night," he replied, nestling his head in her neck and hugging her as tightly as his little body would allow.
Then came the words that literally stopped her heart.
Emily felt tears flood her eyes faster than she could stop them as she looked up to the shocked and emotional face of his father. She was so completely touched by the words. "I love you too, honey," she whispered, hugging him just a little bit tighter.
Then Jack scrambled off the bed and father and son headed for his bedroom. Aaron watched his son scramble into his bed, tucking the covers tightly around his chin and making sure his dinosaur was within arm's reach.
"Did you have a good Christmas?" he asked the little boy, sitting on the edge of his bed.
Jack nodded vigorously. "I liked that Em'ly was here," he said.
"I did too," Aaron agreed.
"Did you have a good Christmas, Daddy?"
"I did," he answered. "Because I had you here to celebrate it with."
Aaron chuckled. His son was head over heels, though he couldn't really fault the five-year-old. He was well on his way there and had been long before Haley had been killed. He just wanted to make sure he could give Emily everything she deserved before he made any sort of declaration or commitment. He wasn't in that place yet.
"Yes, sir. And Emily." Then he kissed his son's head. "Good night, Jack. I love you."
Jack's little innocent eyes locked on his father's. "I love you too, Daddy."
Aaron felt tears come to his eyes as he kissed his son's head. He just looked down at Jack for a few moments, unsure of what to do or say. He couldn't put into words how much those words had meant to him. "That was the best Christmas present."
"Better than Em'ly's picture?"
"Much better," the father replied in a choked voice.
Her smile grew as she felt Aaron shift behind her, his hand starting to move slowly on her stomach. "Good morning," she murmured.
"Good morning," he mimicked, his voice low.
Emily let herself shiver at that voice, something she hadn't allowed herself to do for fear of letting him in on how much he affected her. She turned to face him, her finger tracing his cheek, unable to stop herself. "You came back a little emotional last night," she said quietly. "Is everything okay?"
"Everything is… I think I can actually say fantastic," he replied, a smile drifting across his face.
Her smile was wider. She'd been so concerned that there was something wrong with her boys, that Jack had inadvertently said something that set his father off. "What happened?"
Aaron felt the emotion come rushing back to him. "Jack told me he loved me."
Emily felt her own tears flood her vision. "Did you ever doubt it?"
"Yes," he admitted.
"There's still a part of you that thinks Haley's death is your fault," she said quietly, her fingers trailing over the back of his neck. Her eyes, however, were serious and he sighed.
"If I had just taken the deal, Haley would still be alive."
"There's no guarantee of that," she answered. "You don't know that. And Shaunessy was tortured to his death because he made a deal with Foyet."
"I don't want to talk about Foyet," he murmured against her mouth before kissing her, reveling in the fact that he could. Part of him was still floored that she wanted him, a broken man tortured by the death of his ex-wife.
Emily kissed him back for a moment before pulling back and craning her neck to see the alarm clock. "Jack should be up."
He followed her gaze. "He's probably been up a while. A few more minutes won't change anything." Plus, the door was unlocked, if closed, and Jack was old enough to open the door if he wanted.
Her eyes fell closed again as she cuddled back into him. Things were different now, smoother. She felt less like she had to hide from him and it was an odd thrill. She could kiss him, hug him, touch him and she didn't have to maintain an air of professionalism or platonic friendship. She knew that they had milestones to cover in creating something solid between them, especially on the romantic side, but seeing him in the last couple of days gave her faith that in time the pain of losing Haley would fade. The guilt would fade too and though she knew he'd never completely believe he wasn't responsible for Haley's death, she also knew that it too would become less.
Jack poked his head into the room then, and Emily grinned up at Aaron.
"Daddy, can we have waffles for breakfast?"
So, first off, this would not work for me. It was like the 23rd where I literally could not get a handle on what I wanted to do. On the bright side, today's chapter should come faster and yes, should be up today. That one's been floating around in my head for weeks.
There is a story behind this chapter. I had originally wanted Jack to say to Hotch 'I love you' in His Christmas Wish, but then it completely slipped my mind with the whole kiss! So that's why it's in a flashback here. Which actually worked in my favour since I wasn't sure what to do with this. See, the 26th is Boxing Day in Canada, technically, so usually there isn't much open. So I went by that here and thus was SEVERELY limited, which would be the main reason why this took me almost three days to write.
I am very much open to ideas over the next six (five?) days. The new years eve is planned, but I may be able to break it up into 2 chapters, one for the day and one for the midnight party part.
Let me know if you want to see more where this came from! According to my mini (and changeable) plan, there's a team get-together tomorrow!